Tag Archives: God.

Trust God Who Never Fails

 

Don’t Fear; Trust God

 

(pictures of people being afraid)

Don’t fear, trust God.

Isaiah 41:10 NLT – Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. 

_____________________________________

Don’t Be Afraid

From: Academictips.org

 

Here we are, afraid of losing what we have all the time, holding on to it so tight that not a soul can touch it. We think by hiding it from the world, it’s hidden and it’s ours. Nothing is. Nothing ever will be. For, nothing ever was.

If you think there is anything that you have, that’s yours, be it money, a house, a job, or a girlfriend… it’s nothing but an illusion. It’ll all disappear… in one blow. One blow, my man.

Here we are, so insecure that we are afraid of re-starting our lives, so we just carry on trying to sort out the current mess. The thought that we should give it all up and just start all over – with nothing – might cross our minds some time, sure, but we get scared and we push away anything that scares us.

There is nothing I can ever achieve or gain that I cannot lose, in a matter of seconds. You have never gained enough to not be able to lose it all, in just a few minutes. What you think is yours, was never yours and will never be yours. Whatever you make here, you leave here. You came naked and you’re going to go back naked.

So what are you afraid of?

Let all be lost. Let them take away everything. As long as you have your heart beating strong, as long as you have your nostrils working fine, as long as the blood flows in your veins, you will live, you will breathe and you can get it all back… again and again. For, if you can do it once, you can damn well do it again. It’s just a game we play – Life.

By Rohit Wadhwaney

 

Taking the Initiative Against Depression

From: My Utmost For His Highest

02
17
2014

Arise and eat—1 Kings 19:5

The angel in this passage did not give Elijah a vision, or explain the Scriptures to him, or do anything remarkable. He simply told Elijah to do a very ordinary thing, that is, to get up and eat. If we were never depressed, we would not be alive—only material things don’t suffer depression. If human beings were not capable of depression, we would have no capacity for happiness and exaltation. There are things in life that are designed to depress us; for example, things that are associated with death. Whenever you examine yourself, always take into account your capacity for depression. 

When the Spirit of God comes to us, He does not give us glorious visions, but He tells us to do the most ordinary things imaginable. Depression tends to turn us away from the everyday things of God’s creation. But whenever God steps in, His inspiration is to do the most natural, simple things-things we would never have imagined God was in, but as we do them we find Him there. The inspiration that comes to us in this way is an initiative against depression. But we must take the first step and do it in the inspiration of God. If, however, we do something simply to overcome our depression, we will only deepen it. But when the Spirit of God leads us instinctively to do something, the moment we do it the depression is gone. As soon as we arise and obey, we enter a higher plane of life.

Learn and Earn

From: Academictips.org

Chuan and Jing joined a wholesale company together just after graduation. Both worked very hard.

After several years, the boss promoted Jing to sales executive but Chuan remained a sales rep. One day Chuan could not take it anymore, tender resignation to the boss and complained the boss did not value hard working staff, but only promoted those who flattered him.

The boss knew that Chuan worked very hard for the years, but in order to help Chuan realize the difference between him and Jing, the boss asked Chuan to do the following. Go and find out anyone selling water melon in the market? Chuan returned and said yes. The boss asked how much per kg? Chuan went back to the market to ask and returned to inform boss the $12 per kg.

Boss told Chuan, I will ask Jing the same question? Jing went, returned and said, boss, only one person selling water melon. $12 per kg, $100 for 10 kg, he has inventory of 340 melons. On the table 58 melons, every melon weighs about 15 kg, bought from the South two days ago, they are fresh and red, good quality.

Chuan was very impressed and realized the difference between himself and Jing. He decided not to resign but to learn from Jing.

My dear friends, a more successful person is more observant, think more and understand in depth. For the same matter, a more successful person sees several years ahead, while you see only tomorrow. The difference between a year and a day is 365 times, how could you win?

Think! how far have you seen ahead in your life? How thoughtful in depth are you?

How the poor live

From: Academictips.org

One day, a father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose of showing his son how poor people live. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, “How was the trip?”

“It was great, Dad.”

“Did you see how poor people live?” the father asked.

“Oh yeah,” said the son.

“So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father.

The son answered, “I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden, and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden, and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard, and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on, and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us; they have friends to protect them.”

The boy’s father was speechless.

Then his son added, “Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are.”

Don’t Fear; Trust God

 

(pictures of people being afraid)

Don’t fear, trust God.

Isaiah 41:10 NLT – Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. 

_____________________________________

Don’t Be Afraid

From: Academictips.org

 

Here we are, afraid of losing what we have all the time, holding on to it so tight that not a soul can touch it. We think by hiding it from the world, it’s hidden and it’s ours. Nothing is. Nothing ever will be. For, nothing ever was.

If you think there is anything that you have, that’s yours, be it money, a house, a job, or a girlfriend… it’s nothing but an illusion. It’ll all disappear… in one blow. One blow, my man.

Here we are, so insecure that we are afraid of re-starting our lives, so we just carry on trying to sort out the current mess. The thought that we should give it all up and just start all over – with nothing – might cross our minds some time, sure, but we get scared and we push away anything that scares us.

There is nothing I can ever achieve or gain that I cannot lose, in a matter of seconds. You have never gained enough to not be able to lose it all, in just a few minutes. What you think is yours, was never yours and will never be yours. Whatever you make here, you leave here. You came naked and you’re going to go back naked.

So what are you afraid of?

Let all be lost. Let them take away everything. As long as you have your heart beating strong, as long as you have your nostrils working fine, as long as the blood flows in your veins, you will live, you will breathe and you can get it all back… again and again. For, if you can do it once, you can damn well do it again. It’s just a game we play – Life.

By Rohit Wadhwaney

 

Taking the Initiative Against Depression

From: My Utmost For His Highest

02
17
2014

Arise and eat—1 Kings 19:5

The angel in this passage did not give Elijah a vision, or explain the Scriptures to him, or do anything remarkable. He simply told Elijah to do a very ordinary thing, that is, to get up and eat. If we were never depressed, we would not be alive—only material things don’t suffer depression. If human beings were not capable of depression, we would have no capacity for happiness and exaltation. There are things in life that are designed to depress us; for example, things that are associated with death. Whenever you examine yourself, always take into account your capacity for depression.

When the Spirit of God comes to us, He does not give us glorious visions, but He tells us to do the most ordinary things imaginable. Depression tends to turn us away from the everyday things of God’s creation. But whenever God steps in, His inspiration is to do the most natural, simple things-things we would never have imagined God was in, but as we do them we find Him there. The inspiration that comes to us in this way is an initiative against depression. But we must take the first step and do it in the inspiration of God. If, however, we do something simply to overcome our depression, we will only deepen it. But when the Spirit of God leads us instinctively to do something, the moment we do it the depression is gone. As soon as we arise and obey, we enter a higher plane of life.

Learn and Earn

From: Academictips.org

Chuan and Jing joined a wholesale company together just after graduation. Both worked very hard.

After several years, the boss promoted Jing to sales executive but Chuan remained a sales rep. One day Chuan could not take it anymore, tender resignation to the boss and complained the boss did not value hard working staff, but only promoted those who flattered him.

The boss knew that Chuan worked very hard for the years, but in order to help Chuan realize the difference between him and Jing, the boss asked Chuan to do the following. Go and find out anyone selling water melon in the market? Chuan returned and said yes. The boss asked how much per kg? Chuan went back to the market to ask and returned to inform boss the $12 per kg.

Boss told Chuan, I will ask Jing the same question? Jing went, returned and said, boss, only one person selling water melon. $12 per kg, $100 for 10 kg, he has inventory of 340 melons. On the table 58 melons, every melon weighs about 15 kg, bought from the South two days ago, they are fresh and red, good quality.

Chuan was very impressed and realized the difference between himself and Jing. He decided not to resign but to learn from Jing.

My dear friends, a more successful person is more observant, think more and understand in depth. For the same matter, a more successful person sees several years ahead, while you see only tomorrow. The difference between a year and a day is 365 times, how could you win?

Think! how far have you seen ahead in your life? How thoughtful in depth are you?

How the poor live

From: Academictips.org

One day, a father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose of showing his son how poor people live. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, “How was the trip?”

“It was great, Dad.”

“Did you see how poor people live?” the father asked.

“Oh yeah,” said the son.

“So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father.

The son answered, “I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden, and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden, and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard, and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on, and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us; they have friends to protect them.”

The boy’s father was speechless.

Then his son added, “Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are.”

Lunch With God

Lunch With God 
From: Inspirationalarchive.com
There once was a little boy who wanted to meet God. He knew it was
a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with
Twinkies and a six-pack of root beer, and he started his journey.

When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old woman. She was sitting in the park just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to her and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old lady looked hungry so he offered her a Twinkie. She gratefully accepted it and smiled at him. Her smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered her a root beer. Once again, she smiled at him. The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word.

As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave but before he had gone more than a few steps; he turned around, ran back to the old woman, and gave her a hug. She gave him her biggest smile ever. When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, “What did you do today that made you so happy?” He replied, “I had lunch with God.” But before his mother could respond, he added, “You know what? She’s got the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen!”

Meanwhile, the old woman, also radiant with joy, returned to her home. Her son was stunned by the look of peace on her face and he asked, “Mother, what did you do today that made you so happy?” She replied, “I ate Twinkies in the park with God.” But before her son responded, she added, “You know, he’s much younger than I expected.”

Too often we under estimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Embrace all equally!

See Me

From; Inspirationalarchive.com

This poem was written by an old woman living in a nursing home in

Ireland. It was found among her things when she died.

What do you see nurses, what do you see?
Are you thinking when you look at me?
A crabbit old woman, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit, with far away eyes,
Who dribbles her food and makes no reply
When you say in a loud voice- “I do wish you’d try.”
And forever is losing a sock or a shoe.
Who unresisting or not, lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill.
Is that what you think, is that what you see?
Open your eyes, nurse, you’re not looking at me.

I’ll tell you who I am, as I sit here so still,
As I use at your bidding, and eat at your will,
I’m a small child of ten, with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters who loved one another,
A young girl of 16, with wings on her feet,
Dreaming that soon now a lover she’ll meet.
A bride soon at 20, my heart give a leap.
Remembering the vows that I promised to keep.
At 25 now, I have young of my own,
Who need me to build a secure, happy home.
A women of 30, my young now grow so fast,
Bound to each other with ties that should last.
At 40, my young sons have grown and are gone,
But my man’s beside me to see I don’t mourn.
At 50 once more, babies play round my knee,
Again we know children, my loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead.
I look at the future and shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing young of their own,
And I think of the years and the love that I’ve known,
I’m and old women now and nature is cruel,
Tis her jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles, grace and vigor depart.
There is now a stone where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells,
And now and again, my battered heart swells,
I remember the joys and I remember the pain,
And I’m living and loving life over again,
I think of the years all too few- gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.
Open your eyes, nurse open and see.
Not an empty old women, look closer- see ME.

 A Pair of Pears
By Allen S. Maller

From: Inspirationalarchive.com

There was a king who had a daughter who was very ill. The doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with her. She just seemed miserable and cried often.

One night the princess dreamed that if she ate a pair of very special pears she would get well. In order to learn what would make the pears so special, she would have to meet with each person who brought pears to her. Her mother the queen, decreed that whoever brought in the very special pears that healed the princess, would have the opportunity to marry the princess, if she wanted to marry him.

Hundreds of young men brought baskets of pears to the princess. She talked for a long time to each of the young men, and ate their pears, but none of them made her feel better.

One farmer who had very sweet and juicy pears as well as three sons told his eldest son, the most handsome of the three, to take a basket of pears to the princess. On the way to the princess the handsome son met a dwarf who related how hungry he was. The dwarf saw the basket and said, “You must be taking pears to heal the princess. Please give me a few pears so I will not starve.”

The handsome son didn’t want to give away even one pear, especially to a dwarf. He was afraid that any pear given away might turn out to be the special one of the pair that would heal the princess. Then he would lose the chance to marry her.

So he said to the hungry man, “The only pears I have in this basket are pairs of pig’s feet.” The hungry man, who was really the prophet Elijah in disguise, replied, “Amen! So shall it be.” Then he walked away.

When the handsome son was brought to the princess, he opened his basket to show her his pears, and it was filled with pairs of pig’s feet. The princess fainted. The king ordered the eldest son to be thrown out into the street.

When the handsome son returned home he didn’t want to tell anybody what had happened so he just said that the pears didn’t work. The farmer then decided to send his middle son, the one who was tall, strong and had lovely blond hair, to bring the farmer’s best pears to the princess.

On the road to the castle the tall blond son also met Elijah, who was disguised this time as a poor beggar who was deaf in one ear. The blond son also didn’t want to help the beggar, even though he seemed very hungry.

The tall blond son said, “I can’t help you. The only pears I have in this basket are pairs of pig’s ears.” “Amen!” said Elijah, “so shall it be.”

When the tall blond son was brought to the princess he opened his basket and it was filled to the top with pairs of pig’s ears. The princess became nauseous and threw up. The king had the blond son thrown out the window into the street. When the middle son returned home he also didn’t tell anybody what happened.

The youngest son wasn’t very handsome, and he wasn’t tall or blond, but he was very kind and considerate. He begged his father to let him go because he wanted to help the princess, although he didn’t think she would want to marry him. On the road to the princess he also met Elijah disguised as a beggar with ugly sores and scabs all over his face and arms.

He felt sorry for the ugly beggar, and even before the beggar asked, he offered half of the pears in the basket to the man saying, “I pray these pears are good for you.” Elijah took them and replied, “Amen! So shall it be good for you.”

When the youngest son opened his basket before the princess she asked why it was only half filled with pears. He told her about offering half the basket of pears to the beggar who was covered with sores and scabs. The princess began to cry. The youngest son apologized for making her cry, but to his surprise she suddenly hugged him. They spent the whole day talking and the princess felt better and better. By the next day she was feeling great. A month later she told the youngest son she wanted to marry him, and that is what she did.

The boy’s father could never figure out what was special about the pears that the youngest son brought to the princess.

How Could Someone So Persecute Jesus!

From: My Utmost For His HIghest

Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? —Acts 26:14

Are you determined to have your own way in living for God? We will never be free from this trap until we are brought into the experience of the baptism of “the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11). Stubbornness and self-will will always stab Jesus Christ. It may hurt no one else, but it wounds His Spirit. Whenever we are obstinate and self-willed and set on our own ambitions, we are hurting Jesus. Every time we stand on our own rights and insist that this is what we intend to do, we are persecuting Him. Whenever we rely on self-respect, we systematically disturb and grieve His Spirit. And when we finally understand that it is Jesus we have been persecuting all this time, it is the most crushing revelation ever.

Is the Word of God tremendously penetrating and sharp in me as I hand it on to you, or does my life betray the things I profess to teach? I may teach sanctification and yet exhibit the spirit of Satan, the very spirit that persecutes Jesus Christ. The Spirit of Jesus is conscious of only one thing— a perfect oneness with the Father. And He tells us, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29). All I do should be based on a perfect oneness with Him, not on a self-willed determination to be godly. This will mean that others may use me, go around me, or completely ignore me, but if I will submit to it for His sake, I will prevent Jesus Christ from being persecuted.

“It Is The Lord!”

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“It Is the Lord!”

Thomas answered and said to Him, ’My Lord and my God!’ —John 20:28

Jesus said to her, ’Give Me a drink’ ” (John 4:7). How many of us are expecting Jesus Christ to quench our thirst when we should be satisfying Him! We should be pouring out our lives, investing our total beings, not drawing on Him to satisfy us. “You shall be witnesses to Me . . .” (Acts 1:8). That means lives of pure, uncompromising, and unrestrained devotion to the Lord Jesus, which will be satisfying to Him wherever He may send us.Beware of anything that competes with your loyalty to Jesus Christ. The greatest competitor of true devotion to Jesus is the service we do for Him. It is easier to serve than to pour out our lives completely for Him. The goal of the call of God is His satisfaction, not simply that we should do something for Him. We are not sent to do battle for God, but to be used by God in His battles. Are we more devoted to service than we are to Jesus Christ Himself?

 

 

no more prejudice

From: Our Daily Journey
James 2:1-13
My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others? (James 2:1).

Read 1 Samuel 16:1-13, and see the context in which God told one of His servants not to judge based on outward appearances.

Who helped to shape your theology of the treatment of people? What are some things you can do to love and treat people as Jesus did?

Many years ago, it was assumed that women could not play the French horn better than men. Their thoughts were challenged and disproved, however, when Julie Landsman auditioned for the role of principal French horn for the renowned Metropolitan Opera. During her audition, Landsman sat and played behind a screen—and played beautifully. After being declared the winner of the lead chair based on sound alone, she stepped out from behind the screen. The judges gasped! They didn’t expect to see a woman.

A couple millennia ago, James had to remind a group of believers in Jesus that they shouldn’t allow others’ outward appearances and their own inner prejudice to color how they view one another. He gently rebuked these believers: My brothers, stop judging one another according to first appearances. He called them brothers because they belonged to one another and because they had the same Father through Jesus. Based on this union and the character of God, they needed to stop evaluating and discriminating against people based on looks, ethnicity, culture, age, education, and socioeconomic status (Leviticus 19:15Deuteronomy 10:17). This type of treatment of one another was sinful, inconsistent with their faith in Jesus, betrayed the grace of God, and violated the law of love. For James, the answer to prejudice was to follow the example of Jesus: Love your neighbor as yourself.

Our heavenly Father is a God who shows no favoritism or partiality (Acts 10:34Romans 2:11), and He has forbidden prejudice and partiality among His children (Leviticus 19:15). Let’s stand together and fight the sin of prejudice by letting our love for God find full expression in our love for one another.

The Empty Chair
From: heavensinspirations.com

A man’s daughter had asked the local pastor to come and pray with her father. When the pastor arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on two pillows and an empty chair beside his bed. The priest assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit.


“I guess you were expecting me,” he said.


“No, who are you?”


“I’m the new associate at your local church,” the pastor replied.


“When I saw the empty chair, I figured you knew I was going to show up.”


“Oh yeah, the chair,” said the bedridden man. “Would you mind closing the door?”


Puzzled, the pastor shut the door.


“I’ve never told anyone this, not even my daughter,” said the man.


“But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it always went right over my head..”


“I abandoned any attempt at prayer,” the old man continued, “until one day about four years ago my best friend said to me, ‘Joe, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here’s what I suggest. Sit down on a chair, place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It’s not spooky because he promised, ‘I’ll be with you always.’ Then just speak to him and listen in the same way you’re doing with me right now.”


“So, I tried it and I’ve liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I’m careful, though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she’d either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm.”


The pastor was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old guy to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with him, and returned to the church.


Two nights later the daughter called to tell the pastor that her daddy had died that afternoon.


“Did he seem to die in peace?” he asked.


“Yes, when I left the house around two o’clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me one of his corny jokes, and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later, I found him dead. But there was something strange, In fact, beyond strange-kinda weird.


Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on a chair beside the bed.”


-Author Unknown

Peter’s Answer

Today’s Scripture: Matthew 16:16

From:  American Bible Society

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Today’s Reading

13 Jesus went to the territory near the town of Caesarea Philippi, where he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 “Some say John the Baptist,” they answered. “Others say Elijah, while others say Jeremiah or some other prophet.” 15 “What about you?” he asked them. “Who do you say I am?”16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 “Good for you, Simon son of John!” answered Jesus. “For this truth did not come to you from any human being, but it was given to you directly by my Father in heaven. 18 And so I tell you, Peter: you are a rock, and on this rock foundation I will build my church, and not even death will ever be able to overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of heaven; what you prohibit on earth will be prohibited in heaven, and what you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven. ” 20 Then Jesus ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah. 21 From that time on Jesus began to say plainly to his disciples, “I must go to Jerusalem and suffer much from the elders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law. I will be put to death, but three days later I will be raised to life.” 22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “God forbid it, Lord!” he said. “That must never happen to you!” 23 Jesus turned around and said to Peter, “Get away from me, Satan! You are an obstacle in my way, because these thoughts of yours don’t come from God, but from human nature.” 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you want to come with me, you must forget yourself, carry your cross, and follow me. 25 For if you want to save your own life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for my sake, you will find it. 26 Will you gain anything if you win the whole world but lose your life? Of course not! There is nothing you can give to regain your life. 27 For the Son of Man is about to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will reward each one according to his deeds. 28 I assure you that there are some here who will not die until they have seen the Son of Man come as King. ”

Reflect

Verses 13-20 are often referred to as “Peter’s Confession.” How would you respond if someone were to ask you who Jesus is? Why does Jesus rebuke Peter after speaking to the disciples about his suffering and death?

Pray

Lord Jesus, I boldly confess that you are the Messiah, God’s Anointed One, the promised Savior who has come into the world. You suffered and died on a cross for my sake, but rose again so that I might have eternal life and dwell with you in glory. Amen.

God Is Sovereign

 

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Protocol

[Written by Joe Stowell for Our Daily Bread.]

Let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. —James 1:6

If you were invited to a meeting at the White House with the President of the United States, regardless of your opinion of him or her, you would probably go. Upon entering the White House, a protocol officer would meet you and outline the proper procedures for meeting the President. Suffice it to say, it would be unacceptable to let loose with a burst of undignified familiarity or negative criticism as you shook hands.

So it should come as no surprise that God’s Word makes it clear that there is a protocol for entering the presence of God. Hebrews 11:6outlines one aspect of appropriate interaction: “He who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” God wants us to be fully devoted to Him—and He takes it personally when our hearts are filled with criticism, unbelief, and doubt.

James tells us that when we ask God for wisdom, the key to His response is whether or not we are asking “in faith” (1:6). God is pleased when we approach Him with unwavering faith.

So leave your doubt at the door and follow the protocol: Approach God with a heart of faith, and He will be pleased to provide all the wisdom you need.

God, give me the faith of a little child!
A faith that will look to Thee—
That never will falter and never fail,
But follow Thee trustingly. —Showerman

Exchange the dissatisfaction of doubt for the fulfillment of faith in God.

The important things in life

 

A philosophy professor stood before his class with some items on the table in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, about 2 inches in diameter.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up the remaining open areas of the jar.

He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “Yes.”

“Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things – your family, your partner, your health, your children – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter – like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else, the small stuff.”

“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party, or fix the disposal.”

“Take care of the rocks first – the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

Author Unknown

Live and Work

 

Father was a hardworking man who delivered bread as a living to support his wife and three children. He spent all his evenings after work attending classes, hoping to improve himself so that he could one day find a better paying job. Except for Sundays, Father hardly ate a meal together with his family. He worked and studied very hard because he wanted to provide his family with the best money could buy.

Whenever the family complained that he was not spending enough time with them, he reasoned that he was doing all this for them. But he often yearned to spend more time with his family.

The day came when the examination results were announced. To his joy, Father passed, and with distinctions too! Soon after, he was offered a good job as a senior supervisor which paid handsomely.

Like a dream come true, Father could now afford to provide his family with life’s little luxuries like nice clothing, fine food and vacation abroad.

However, the family still did not get to see father for most of the week. He continued to work very hard, hoping to be promoted to the position of manager. In fact, to make himself a worthily candidate for the promotion, he enrolled for another course in the open university.

Again, whenever the family complained that he was not spending enough time with them, he reasoned that he was doing all this for them. But he often yearned to spend more time with his family.

Father’s hard work paid off and he was promoted. Jubilantly, he decided to hire a maid to relieve his wife from her domestic tasks. He also felt that their three-room flat was no longer big enough, it would be nice for his family to be able to enjoy the facilities and comfort of a condominium. Having experienced the rewards of his hard work many times before, Father resolved to further his studies and work at being promoted again. The family still did not get to see much of him. In fact, sometimes Father had to work on Sundays entertaining clients. Again, whenever the family complained that he was not spending enough time with them, he reasoned that he was doing all this for them. But he often yearned to spend more time with his family.

As expected, Father’s hard work paid off again and he bought a beautiful condominium overlooking the coast of Singapore. On the first Sunday evening at their new home, Father declared to his family that he decided not to take anymore courses or pursue any more promotions. From then on he was going to devote more time to his family.

Father did not wake up the next day.

 

Give time to our family

 

After 21 years of marriage, my wife wanted me to take another woman out to dinner and a movie. She said, “I love you, but I know this other woman loves you and would love to spend some time with you.”

The other woman that my wife wanted me to visit was my MOTHER, who has been a widow for 19 years, but the demands of my work and my three children had made it possible to visit her only occasionally. That night I called to invite her to go out for dinner and a movie. “What’s wrong, are you well?” she asked.

My mother is the type of woman who suspects that a late night call or a surprise invitation is a sign of bad news. “I thought that it would be pleasant to spend some time with you,” I responded. “Just the two of us.” She thought about it for a moment, and then said, “I would like that very much.”

That Friday after work, as I drove over to pick her up I was a bit nervous. When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she, too, seemed to be nervous about our date. She waited in the door with her coat on. She had curled her hair and was wearing the dress that she had worn to celebrate her last wedding anniversary. She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an angel’s. “I told my friends that I was going to go out with my son, and they were impressed, “she said, as she got into the car. “They can’t wait to hear about our meeting.”

We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very nice and cozy. My mother took my arm as if she were the First Lady. After we sat down, I had to read the menu. Her eyes could only read large print. Half way through the entries, I lifted my eyes and saw Mom sitting there staring at me. A nostalgic smile was on her lips. “It was I who used to have to read the menu when you were small,” she said. “Then it’s time that you relax and let me return the favor,” I responded. During the dinner, we had an agreeable conversation – nothing extraordinary but catching up on recent events of each other’s life. We talked so much that we missed the movie. As we arrived at her house later, she said, “I’ll go out with you again, but only if you let me invite you.” I agreed.

“How was your dinner date?” asked my wife when I got home. “Very nice. Much more so than I could have imagined,” I answered.

A few days later, my mother died of a massive heart attack. It happened so suddenly that I didn’t have a chance to do anything for her. Some time later, I received an envelope with a copy of a restaurant receipt from the same place mother and I had dined. An attached note said: “I paid this bill in advance. I wasn’t sure that I could be there; but nevertheless, I paid for two plates – one for you and the other for your wife. You will never know what that night meant for me. I love you, son.”

At that moment, I understood the importance of saying in time: “I LOVE YOU” and to give our loved ones the time that they deserve. Nothing in life is more important than your family. Give them the time they deserve, because these things cannot be put off till “some other time.”

From: Academictips.org.

undeserved grace

From: ourdailyjourney.org.

Ephesians 2:1-10
The result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin (Romans 5:16).

Read Hebrews 4:16 and note what it says we can do and experience because of our “gracious God.”

How has your understanding of grace changed over time? Why can a better understanding of God’s grace lead us to do even more good works?

Early in my walk with the Lord, a friend told me that as I came to understand more fully how undeserving I was of Jesus’ grace, I’d embrace it all the more. Many years later, I still think about her exhortation when—on occasion—I move from acknowledging my sins and desperate need of a Savior to wondering if perhaps I’m entitled to special treatment based on my “good works.”

When pride sets in and our thinking grows faulty, Scripture reminds us:

• “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).

• “God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)” (Ephesians 2:4-5).

• ”God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

The apostle Paul described a “thorn in his flesh” that helped him deeply experience the sufficiency of God’s grace. He wrote, “So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:8-10).

As we participate in the work of the Lord, we aren’t earning our way to heaven but, rather, are reflecting His saving grace and work in our lives by doing “the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10).

That’s Awesome

 

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Simposious says, “You are awesome with God.”

That’s Awesome!

From: GetMoreStrength.com

[Written by Joe Stowell for Our Daily Bread.]

Come and see the works of God; He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men. —Psalm 66:5

The word awesome is tossed around a lot these days. Talk about cars, movies, songs, or food—and somebody will say, “That’s awesome!”

But if we call earth-side stuff awesome and then call God awesome, we diminish how truly awesome He is. A friend of mine has a rule in her house—the word awesome is reserved only for God.

Trivializing God is no trivial matter. He is far more than a companion who will fit into our “buddy system” or a divine ATM responding to our impulses. Until we are stunned by the awesomeness of God, we will be way too impressed with ourselves and lose the joy of the privilege of belonging to an awesome God.

A look at the Psalms puts it all in perspective. One psalmist declares, “For the Lord Most High is awesome; He is a great King over all the earth” (Ps. 47:2). And another psalm commands: “Say to God, ‘How awesome are Your works!’ . . . Come and see the works of God; He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men” (Ps. 66:3,5).

What could be more awesome than the love that compelled Jesus to go to the cross for us? Put Him in His proper place as the only One who is truly awesome, and praise God for His awesome work in your life!

Holy, Holy, Holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Which wert and art and evermore shalt be. —Heber

If you’re too impressed with yourself, take a closer look at God’s awesomeness.

 

Dead Ducks Don’t Flutter

Stories below from: heavensinspirations.com

Many years ago, a wealthy man went duck hunting with a hired hand named Sam.They took a horse and carriage, and along the way a rim came off one of the wheels. As Sam hammered it back on, he accidentally hit his finger. Instantly he let go with some bad words. He quickly fell to his knees, asking God’s forgiveness. “Lord, it’s difficult at times to live the Christian life”, he prayed. “Sam” said the man, “I know you’re a Christian, but tell me why you struggle so, I’m an atheist, and I don’t have problems like that.”



Sam didn’t know what to say. Just then two ducks flew overhead. The man raised his gun and two shots rang out. “Leave the dead one and go after that wounded bird!” he shouted. Sam pointed at the duck that was fluttering desperately to escape and said, “I’ve got an answer for you now, Boss. You said my Christianity isn’t any good because I have to struggle so. Well, I’m the wounded duck, and struggle to get away from the devil. But you Boss, you’re the dead duck!”



That insight fits Paul’s description of his Christian experience in Romans 7: 14-25. Struggle is one evidence of God’s work in our lives Forgiveness of sin is available, so don’t despair. Remember, dead ducks don’t flutter.

–Dennis De Hann



Struggle, yes, it’s part of living
Nothing’s gained on beds of ease;
But when our heart is set on Jesus,
Struggle drives us to our knees.

–D. De Hann

If Jesus lives within us,
Sin need not overwhelm us.


From Our Daily Bread

Dusting

*Do not use or direct link to the images on this page ~ Read why here*

“A house becomes a home when you can write
“I love you” on the furniture.”


I can’t tell you how many countless hours
that I have spent CLEANING!



I used to spend at least 8 hours every weekend
making sure things were just perfect – “in case
someone came over”. Then I realized one day
that no one came over; they were all out living
life and having fun!



Now, when people visit, I find no need to explain
the “condition” of my home. They are more in-
terested in hearing about the things I’ve been
doing while I was away living life and having fun.
If you haven’t figured this out yet, please
heed this advice.



Life is short. Enjoy it! Dust if you must, but
wouldn’t it be better to paint a picture or
write a letter, bake a cake or plant a seed,
ponder the difference between want and need?



Dust if you must, but there’s not much time,
with rivers to swim and mountains to climb,
music to hear and books to read,!
friends to cherish and life to lead.



Dust if you must, but the world’s out there
with the sun in your eyes, the wind in your
hair, a flutter of snow, a shower of rain.
This day will not come around again.



Dust if you must, but bear in mind, old age
will come, and it’s not kind. And when you
go – and go you must – you, yourself
will make more dust!


-Author Unknown

Excuse This House


*Do not use or direct link to the images on this page ~ Read why here*

Some houses try to hide the fact
That children shelter there
Our boasts it quite openly
The signs are everywhere

 

 

For smears are on the windows
Little smudges on the door
I should apologize I guess
For the toys strewn on the floor

 

 

But I sat down with the children
And played, laughed and read
And if the door bell doesn’t shine
Their eyes will shine instead

 

 

For when I’m forced to choose
One job or the other
It’s good to be a house wife
But I’d rather be a Mother

 

-Author unknown

Stories above from: Heavensiinspirations.com.

Numbers 32:1-27
I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you (John 17:21).

What does Jesus’ prayer inJohn 17:20-26 reveal about the depth of unity He sought?

Why do you sometimes avoid conflict? How can you honor God and live a healthier life in Christ by the way you face it?

Many Christians are masters at conflict-avoidance. Perhaps we confuse “blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9) with “blessed are those who avoid unpleasant situations.” But conflict and confrontation weave their way throughout the fabric of the Bible.

As the children of Israel prepared to cross the Jordan River for the first time, they faced literal warfare. But first they had to fight a figurative battle that threatened the nation in a different way. The tribes of Gad and Reuben owned “vast numbers of livestock” and wanted to stay in the pastures on the east side of the Jordan (Numbers 32:1).

Moses immediately questioned their motives. “Do you intend to stay here while your brothers go across and do all the fighting?” he asked. “Why do you want to discourage the rest of the people?” (Numbers 32:6-7).

The leaders of Gad and Reuben could have wilted in the face of a powerful man’s anger. Or they could have reacted spitefully. Instead, they replied, “We simply want to build pens for our livestock and fortified towns for our wives and children. Then we will arm ourselves and lead our fellow Israelites into battle” (Numbers 32:16-17).

Moses then laid out the specifics for how the tribes would move forward. They responded, “We, your servants, will follow your instructions exactly” (Numbers 32:25). And they did.

When confronted with disagreements, we tend to vacillate between dishonest niceness and sinful anger. Both extremes are wrong. Jesus never shrank from confrontation. He did, however, pray for our unity even as His crucifixion loomed.

Conflict is inevitable. When it comes, may it point us to the selfless honesty of Jesus and His path that leads to lasting peace.

From: Our Daily Journey

 

 

 

God’s Word

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Intimate With Jesus

From: My Utmost for His Highest

Jesus said to him, ’Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip?’ —John 14:9

These words were not spoken as a rebuke, nor even with surprise; Jesus was encouraging Philip to draw closer. Yet the last person we get intimate with is Jesus. Before Pentecost the disciples knew Jesus as the One who gave them power to conquer demons and to bring about a revival (see Luke 10:18-20). It was a wonderful intimacy, but there was a much closer intimacy to come: “. . . I have called you friends . . .” (John 15:15). True friendship is rare on earth. It means identifying with someone in thought, heart, and spirit. The whole experience of life is designed to enable us to enter into this closest relationship with Jesus Christ. We receive His blessings and know His Word, but do we really know Him?

Jesus said, “It is to your advantage that I go away . . .” (John 16:7). He left that relationship to lead them even closer. It is a joy to Jesus when a disciple takes time to walk more intimately with Him. The bearing of fruit is always shown in Scripture to be the visible result of an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ (see John 15:1-4).

Once we get intimate with Jesus we are never lonely and we never lack for understanding or compassion. We can continually pour out our hearts to Him without being perceived as overly emotional or pitiful. The Christian who is truly intimate with Jesus will never draw attention to himself but will only show the evidence of a life where Jesus is completely in control. This is the outcome of allowing Jesus to satisfy every area of life to its depth. The picture resulting from such a life is that of the strong, calm balance that our Lord gives to those who are intimate with Him.

GOD WAS THERE!

From: GatewaytoJesus

Last December 20th I had a experience that changed my life and nearly ended it. I had personal questions that were answered also that I had in my mind for a while. I had been feeling a little under the weather on the 16th of December and decided not to work that following Monday or Tuesday. I thought since I had a lot of sick days built up I may as well take advantage of them since I didnt really feel well. I had very little appetite and was just not energetic at all. That Tuesday night at 11:30 I decided to go to bed and get some sleep. I stood up and with the remote in my hand I turned the television off and at that point the world stopped and life ended. The next thing I knew I was in Barnes hospital in an ICU unit. I thought I was in a dream because everything looked wrong to me. I could not see very well or very clearly. I could see maybe ten feet and it was very very murky and cloudy looking. Giving it a dreamlike appearance. I saw people that I worked with and thought “hmmm I Ive never dreamed of them before! After about a few times of going in and out of consciousness, I came to my senses and realized that I was not dreaming! I really was here in the hospital! “How did I get here?” I thought. I wondered did I have wreck or what. I noticed that the television had the date as the 23rd of December on it. I was completely baffled about the whole thing. I noticed I was hooked to all kinds of electronic things. There was a red light on my finger and a wire that went into my chest to my heart. My legs were attached to a massage machine and my arm to a blood pressure machine that took readings every 15 minutes it seemed. “What happened to me?” My legs hurt really bad and I was weak.

When I realized that I was REALLY in a hospital I thought “How did I get here? Did I have a wreck? I was lost. About 15 minutes after I had regained consciousness, a doctor came in and explained to me how I had been in a coma and how a lucky young man I was to be here. His words were very serious words, but the only thing I thought was what I was going to do when I get out. Later on during my hospital stay I learned from friends what had happened the four days that I was missing in my mind. I thought about God. God, in my view, did not let me die. He did an amazing thing in my book by saving my life. Here is what I am thnkful for. Life? Of course! But I am glad that God saw me when I was dying in my bed and before anyone had prayed a prayer about me, He acted! God, I now know, really loves me a lot! I didnt know that I was about to die that Tuesday night, but He did! He did NOT allow it. For whatever reason. Maybe He was just being Himself…nice! I loved Him and admired Him long before any of this thing happended to me. What a Great Person He is! He defies logic to me. A Person Who can not only be smart and ever in control of things but He can be, and is, NICE!! He has been my Friend Who I have talked to for years and this is not the only time He has saved my life but that is for another time. I may not know who the beast is or false prophet or whatever. But I will go to my grave knowing that the God that I know really is a friend and that I am crazy about Him. By the way…He does love you deeply too. He will do for you what He has done for anyone. He really is No respecter of persons or any of the stuff we hold is high esteem. Thank Him that He is not. God…You are amazing!

THE HAND

Author Unknown

God’s Word

Matthew 2:13-23 (Good News Translation)

From: Dailybible.com

God’s Word: Guiding Us to Follow Jesus

Introduction

Matthew 2:13-23: An angel appears to Joseph in a dream telling him to take Jesus and Mary to Egypt. Joseph follows this command just in time; Herod orders that all boys under two years of age living in or near Bethlehem must be killed. Mothers around the region mourn. After Herod dies, an angel tells Joseph that the family can return, this time to Nazareth in Galilee.

Today’s Scripture: Matthew 2:14

Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and left during the night for Egypt.

Today’s Reading

13 After they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph and said, “Herod will be looking for the child in order to kill him. So get up, take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you to leave.” 14 Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and left during the night for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until Herod died. This was done to make come true what the Lord had said through the prophet, “I called my Son out of Egypt.” 16 When Herod realized that the visitors from the East had tricked him, he was furious. He gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its neighborhood who were two years old and younger—this was done in accordance with what he had learned from the visitors about the time when the star had appeared. 17 In this way what the prophet Jeremiah had said came true:18 “A sound is heard in Ramah,the sound of bitter weeping.Rachel is crying for her children;she refuses to be comforted, for they are dead.” 19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and go back to the land of Israel, because those who tried to kill the child are dead.” 21 So Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went back to Israel. 22 But when Joseph heard that Archelaus had succeeded his father Herod as king of Judea, he was afraid to go there. He was given more instructions in a dream, so he went to the province of Galilee 23 and made his home in a town named Nazareth. And so what the prophets had said came true: “He will be called a Nazarene.”

Reflect

Why is Joseph told to go to Egypt? According to Matthew, what Old Testament prophecy is fulfilled (verse 15)? Joseph was warned to flee from Herod’s wrath. Where in the world do people live in fear today?

Pray

Jesus, you come to us as a child, innocent, fragile and in need of care, and also as a king for all people. Through your life, I know God’s grace. I praise your holy name. Amen.

Reflecting God’s Love

 

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REFLECTING GOD’S LOVE

From: American Bible Society

Matthew 1:1-17 (Good News Translation)

God’s Word: Guiding Us to Follow Jesus

Introduction

Matthew 1:1-17: Today we begin reading excerpts from the Gospel according to Matthew. Mathew’s Gospel begins with a presentation of the ancestors of Jesus in order to make clear that Jesus is from the family of King David and Abraham.

Today’s Scripture: Matthew 1:17

There were fourteen generations from Abraham to David, and fourteen from David to the exile in Babylon, and fourteen from then to the birth of the Messiah.

Today’s Reading

1 This is the list of the ancestors of Jesus Christ, a descendant of David, who was a descendant of Abraham. 2-6 From Abraham to King David, the following ancestors are listed: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah and his brothers; then Perez and Zerah (their mother was Tamar), Hezron, Ram, Amminadab, Nahshon, Salmon, Boaz (his mother was Rahab), Obed (his mother was Ruth), Jesse, and King David. 6-11 From David to the time when the people of Israel were taken into exile in Babylon, the following ancestors are listed: David, Solomon (his mother was the woman who had been Uriah’s wife), Rehoboam, Abijah, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah, and Jehoiachin and his brothers. 12-16 From the time after the exile in Babylon to the birth of Jesus, the following ancestors are listed: Jehoiachin, Shealtiel, Zerubbabel, Abiud, Eliakim, Azor, Zadok, Achim, Eliud, Eleazar, Matthan, Jacob, and Joseph, who married Mary, the mother of Jesus, who was called the Messiah. 17 So then, there were fourteen generations from Abraham to David, and fourteen from David to the exile in Babylon, and fourteen from then to the birth of the Messiah.

Reflect

You may wish to compare Matthew’s account of Jesus’ ancestry with that of the one recorded by Luke (3:23-38) and note the similarities and differences. Matthew’s account names five women – Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba (Solomon’s mother), and Mary. Learn more about these women by reading about them in the Bible (information about the first four women mentioned can be found in the Old Testament; information about Mary is found in Luke 1–2). What does their inclusion in Jesus’ ancestry teach you about God?

Pray

Lord God, in sending Jesus, the Messiah, you demonstrate your love for all people and your regard for people from all walks of life. Teach me to reflect your love to those I encounter today. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Lunch With God

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(People having lunch)

Lunch with God

There once was a little boy who wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with Twinkies and a six-pack of root beer, and he started his journey.

When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old woman. She was sitting in the park just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to her and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old lady looked hungry so he offered her a Twinkie. She gratefully accepted it and smiled at him. Her smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered her a root beer. Once again, she smiled at him. The boy was delighted! They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word.

As it grew dark, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave but before he had gone more than a few steps; he turned around, ran back to the old woman, and gave her a hug. She gave him her biggest smile ever. When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, “What did you do today that made you so happy?” He replied, “I had lunch with God.” But before his mother could respond, he added, “You know what? She’s got the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen!”

Meanwhile, the old woman, also radiant with joy, returned to her home. Her son was stunned by the look of peace on her face and he asked, “Mother, what did you do today that made you so happy?” She replied, “I ate Twinkies in the park with God.” But before her son responded, she added, “You know, he’s much younger than I expected.”

Too often we under estimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Embrace all equally!

by Kathy Pinto: Inspirational Archives. com

 

laying claim

He said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home (John 19:27).

Read 1 Thessalonians 4:9-18and consider how this passage can show us how to interact with others when we’re faced with the death of a loved one.

If you’ve ever experienced anger at the way others have handled the death of a loved one, what do you believe was at the root of your frustration? What can believers in Jesus lay claim to as they face death?

My mother has developed a habit of occasionally asking us what items we would want once she leaves this earthly existence. Responding with lighthearted humor to her musings on death, and her tendency to be a bit of a packrat, my sister and I tell her not to hide any money in the house because we plan on selling it fully furnished when she dies. When I realized the other day that she still had a grapevine wreath my dad and I had made more than 20 years ago, however, I half-jokingly told her to write my name on it.

Anyone who has experienced the death of a loved one knows the heightened tensions that arise among family members when it happens. Feeling the grief of losing someone we love, we lay claim to any remembrance in an attempt to prolong the connection. Sadly, our attempts to hold on to the love of someone who has died can cost us our relationships with the living.

Scripture provides little insight into Mary’s inner thoughts as she witnessed the death of her Son Jesus, but we can well imagine what she felt (John 19:25). Memories tumbling one on top of the other, her mind must have raced in trying to reconcile the son she had loved and raised with the Messiah who had come to save humanity (Luke 2:19,34-35,51).

Mary didn’t even receive His garment as a remembrance of time with Him. She watched as the hands that nailed Jesus to the cross now rolled dice to see who would get His belongings (John 19:24Psalm 22:18). But even as she endured her emotional torment, Jesus offered forgiveness to those who were causing Him unspeakable pain (Luke 23:34). She didn’t lay claim to possessions, but only to the future hope that all those in Jesus now share.

From: Our Daily Journey

 

Holding Your Hand

“Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand.” Psalm 73:23

One of the joys of being with kids is holding their hands. We do it to keep them safe while crossing the street, or to keep them from getting lost in a crowd. And whenever they stumble and lose their footing, we grab their little hands tighter to keep them from falling.

That’s what God does for us. Inevitably there are stones and cracks that trip us up on the sidewalks of life. That’s why it’s easy to identify with the psalmist, who said, “My steps had nearly slipped” (Ps. 73:2).

We all face a variety of issues that threaten to make us stumble. For the psalmist Asaph, seeing the prosperity of the wicked caused him to question the goodness of God. But God squeezed his hand and reassured him that, given the judgment of God, the wicked do not really prosper. True prosperity, the psalmist discovered, was found in the fact that God was always with him: “You hold me by my right hand” (Ps. 73:23). And just for good measure, God reminded him that He would also guide him through life and ultimately welcome him home to heaven (Ps. 73:24). How good is that!

So, next time you stumble, remember that the powerful hand of God is holding your hand and walking you through life—all the way home!

Many things about tomorrow
I don’t seem to understand;
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand. —Stanphill
© Renewal 1978, Singspiration.

Let God do the holding and you do the trusting.

 From: Get More Strength. org.

Devotional Thoughts

 

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Canceled Christmas

 — by Anne Cetas
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of [Jesus]. —Luke 2:33
Bible in a Year:
Amos 1-3; Revelation 6

We felt as if our Christmas was being canceled last year. Actually, our flight to see family in Missouri was canceled due to snow. It’s been our tradition for quite a few years to celebrate Christmas with them, so we were greatly disappointed when we only got as far as Minnesota and had to return home to Michigan.

On Sunday, in a message we would have missed, our pastor spoke about expectations for Christmas. He caught my attention when he said, “If our expectations for Christmas are gifts and time with family, we have set our expectations too low. Those are enjoyable and things we’re thankful for, but Christmas is the celebration of the coming of Christ and His redemption.”

Simeon and Anna celebrated the coming of Jesus and His salvation when Joseph and Mary brought Him to the temple as a baby (Luke 2:25-38). Simeon, a man who was told by the Spirit that he would not die before he saw the Messiah, declared: “My eyes have seen Your salvation” (v.30). When Anna, a widow who served God, saw Jesus, she “spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem” (v.38).

We may experience disappointments or heartache during the Christmas season, but Jesus and His salvation always give us reason to celebrate.

How wonderful that we on Christmas morn
Though centuries have passed since Christ was born,
May worship still the Living Lord of men,
Our Savior, Jesus, Babe of Bethlehem. —Hutchings
Jesus is always the reason to celebrate.

Celebrate Winter

[Written by Joe Stowell for Our Daily Bread.]

Dec
15
2013

“Why are you cast down, O my soul? . . . Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.Psalm 42:5

I love living where there are four seasons. But even though I love settling down with a good book by a crackling fire when it’s snowing, I must admit that my love for the seasons grows a little dim when the long gray days of winter drone on into February.

Yet regardless of the weather, there is always something special about winter: Christmas! Thankfully, long after the decorations are down, the reality of Christmas still lifts my spirits no matter what’s happening.

If it weren’t for the reality of Christ’s birth, not only would winter be dark and dreary, but our hearts would be bleak and have nothing to hope for. No hope for the freedom from guilt and judgment. No hope of His reassuring and strengthening presence through dark and difficult times. No hope for a future secured in heaven.

In the winter of a troubled life, the psalmist asked, “Why are you cast down, O my soul?” The remedy was clear: “Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance”.

In C. S. Lewis’ tales of Narnia, Mr. Tumnus complains that in Narnia it is “always winter and never Christmas.” But for those of us who know the God who made the seasons, it is always Christmas in our hearts!  —Joe Stowell

When our lives are heavy laden,
Cold and bleak as winter long,
Stir the embers in our hearts, Lord;
Make Your flame burn bright and strong.  —Kieda

Let the reality of Christmas chase away the blahs of winter.

 

“Approved to God”

12
15
2013

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth —2 Timothy 2:15

If you cannot express yourself well on each of your beliefs, work and study until you can. If you don’t, other people may miss out on the blessings that come from knowing the truth. Strive to re-express a truth of God to yourself clearly and understandably, and God will use that same explanation when you share it with someone else. But you must be willing to go through God’s winepress where the grapes are crushed. You must struggle, experiment, and rehearse your words to express God’s truth clearly. Then the time will come when that very expression will become God’s wine of strength to someone else. But if you are not diligent and say, “I’m not going to study and struggle to express this truth in my own words; I’ll just borrow my words from someone else,” then the words will be of no value to you or to others. Try to state to yourself what you believe to be the absolute truth of God, and you will be allowing God the opportunity to pass it on through you to someone else.

Always make it a practice to stir your own mind thoroughly to think through what you have easily believed. Your position is not really yours until you make it yours through suffering and study. The author or speaker from whom you learn the most is not the one who teaches you something you didn’t know before, but the one who helps you take a truth with which you have quietly struggled, give it expression, and speak it clearly and boldly.